Princess Yachts interviewed their Lead Designer Louis Hunter in an issue of Watermark magazine – the manufacturer’s official leisure publication. Visit the Princess Passport to sign up to receive a free issue.
LOUIS: “We have a large studio here at Newport Street. The design side has recently expanded by about 50 per cent – there are a lot more desks than when I started five years ago. We share it with engineers, naval architects, the CAD teams who prepare the designs for production, and the info hub which creates the fit-out drawings. It’s always buzzing – the interaction is constant. To be able to just grab a team-mate for a quick consultation saves so much time.
A lot of the designers at Princess came through the same university course as me. The Automotive and Transport Design BA at Coventry has been incredibly important for the British design industry. Students often start thinking they want to do cars, but many gravitate towards yachts. Essentially, transport design is about functionality, ergonomics and systems integration.
Hand sketching and 3D modelling are fundamental skills for any designer. You also need to know how things are made: not just fibreglass but teak, stainless steel and upholstery, for example, and with the R35 I have learned a lot about carbon fiber too.
I have worked across the portfolio at Princess, on Motor Yachts and S Class projects, on flybridge models, V Class sportsboats and M Class superyachts, but being asked to take on the lead designer role for the R35 was still a challenge. I became the mid-point between Pininfarina and Ben Ainslie Racing Technology, although the design process was begun in-house. BAR took our concept and layout and married it to their revolutionary underwater shape. Pininfarina’s stylists worked up my exterior sketches for how it should look.
The R35 is a perfect balance between luxury and performance, and my previous specialty as a helm designer proved useful in creating elegant and practical solutions for the customer experience in this incredibly technological boat.
The R35 was an intense two-year project. In design terms it is the most refined boat that Princess – and probably any other production boatyard – has ever built. For example, there are no skin fittings on the topsides. Everything is hidden. Pump outlets, shower vent, tank breathers – they’re there, but you’ll never find them. Even the chain locker drain is camouflaged. It’s moulded in carbon and painted to match the hull.
The intention was always to indicate a new direction with the R35 while at the same time retaining the shipyard’s acknowledged design cues. The brief was to create an image-defining boat that would help to evolve a new identity for Princess, and move the brand forward. And now that the dust has settled, I think we can safely say we succeeded.”
About the R35
Designed and hand-built in Plymouth, England, the R35 combines revolutionary performance capabilities, stunning design, quality, and race-bred technology to deliver a unique on-water experience at all speeds.
A combination of stunning design, quality and race-bred technology, the R35 is a revolutionary performance experience at all speeds. Twin direct injection V8 petrol engines with variable valve timing provide exceptional levels of torque and responsiveness to safely power her to an exhilarating 50 knots: the fastest-ever Princess.
Her windshield is a sweep of curved glass, tuned using Computational Fluid Dynamics. Together with deployable side wind deﬂectors, the airﬂow moves cleanly above the cockpit and passengers’ head levels to create a neutral ‘bubble’ enabling you to ride, protected from the wind, without getting wet. The aerodynamically tuned twin air outlets on the transom help suppress any back spray on the stern of the boat. Aft of the cockpit a sun-pad invites you to soak up the sunshine before you step down to the elegantly proportioned swim platform to cool off.
Inside, the Princess Design Studio has thought outside the box. Traditional materials and craftsmanship combine with state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques to deliver an unrivalled experience for up to 8 people. Triple hand-stitched helm seats place you before twin 17” bespoke touchscreens from which you assert command of all engine performance and onboard living data. Below deck, wrap-around windows with carefully considered aerospace beadlighting surround an innovative screen that displays a panoramic view from the bow. Her well-equipped galley is complimented with a U-shaped sofa and dining table that can be converted to a double berth.
To read our review and first-hand account of our experience on the R35, visit yachtingmagazine.com.
To learn more about the Princess R35 and Princess Yachts visit princessyachts.com.